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US judge halts development of George Lucas legacy project

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A federal judge has put a stop to plans for further development on the proposed site of the George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, following a lawsuit from opposers to the plan.

US District Judge John Darrah ruled on Tuesday (25 November) that the site was not to be physically altered until further order of the court, during the opening legal battle between the city and opponents of the museum – known as Friends of the Parks – which filed the suit earlier in November.

The injunction now means work on the site will not start until at least the next court hearing on 26 February 2015. The lawsuit filed by Friends of the Parks argues the proposed site of the Lucas Museum “consists entirely of land recovered from the navigable waters of Lake Michigan” and that the state of Illinois is the “exclusive trustee” of that landfill. The city’s legal team has refuted those claims, saying in a statement they are “legally baseless and defective.”

The statement also said the museum would work “in full compliance with all applicable laws” and would be treated “like every other museum on the campus.” The city also said that the new museum – which will feature George Lucas’ private collection – will bring new cultural and economic growth to the area.

Pending approval by the Chicago Plan Commission, Lucas' 95,000sq ft (8,825sq m) institution will be built on what is now parking lots between Soldier Field and McCormick Place. Beijing-based MAD has been selected as principal designer for the project, while Chicago-based Studio Gang will work on the landscape. In addition, VOA Associates, from Chicago, will serve as the executive architect and lead the implementation of MAD’s design.

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A federal judge has put a stop to plans for further development on the proposed site of the George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, following a lawsuit from opposers to the plan.
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